Seawolf volleyball overtakes conference leader

The Seawolf volleyball team started their away weekend competition against Great Northwest Athletic Conference No. 4 Western Washington on Nov. 14. In a long, highly competitive night, the Seawolves overtook the Vikings in a 3-2 win (23-25, 22-25, 25-23, 27-25, 16-14).

Both teams are ranked in the top-five for NCAA Division II West Region standings. Western Washington is second, while UAA is fifth.

Playing without their leading offensive player, Eve Stephens, the Seawolves had to step up and take charge.

Senior outside hitter and previous GNAC Offensive Player of the Week Vanessa Hayes led the offense by accumulating 17 kills for the night, while junior middle blocker Kayla McGlathery trailed with 13 kills and a 42.3 percent kill average. McGlathery also managed five blocks, all occurring in the fifth set.

Junior middle blocker Jalisa Ingram also aided both the offense and defense during the night, hitting a .333 average and accumulating five blocks.

Junior middle blocker Vera Pluharova and freshman outside hitter Hannah Pembroke also managed eight kills each.

Sophomore setter Ellen Floyd accumulated 43 assists, 14 digs and four block assists during the Nov. 14 game. Photo courtesy of Skip Hickey.

However, the individual offensive achievements would not have been possible without sophomore setter Ellen Floyd’s consistency. She accumulated 43 assists during the game, along with 14 digs and four block assists.

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The Seawolves’ win broke Western Washington’s 39-match home winning streak.

Head coach Chris Green was thrilled with the turnout from the night.

“I can’t express how proud I am of this group tonight. Absolutely everyone stepped up tonight and played with a ton of confidence,” Green said. “Vanessa [Hayes] was hitting for a poor percentage at one point but she stuck with it and came through with some huge kills at the end, and Kayla’s [McGlathery] block was absolutely huge in the fifth.”

UAA continued their away competition against No. 4 Simon Fraser.

In another highly-competitive game, the Seawolves came out with a second win for the weekend (25-20, 25-23, 22-25, 25-16).

The Seawolves’ offense saw the return of Stephens after missing the previous two matches. She led the offense with a total of 22 kills during the night, with a .420 average. In addition, Hayes kept her high-hitting position with 13 kills, along with nine digs.

Leading the defense, junior defensive specialist Anjoilyn Vreeland accumulated 16 digs, aided by her defensive specialist partner Talia Leauanae with 12.

Simon Fraser came close in each set, but the Seawolves outhit them .222 to .120 and out-blocked them 15-9.

The women’s volleyball team celebrates after a win against Western Washington on Nov. 14. Photo courtesy of Christian Serwold/WWU Athletics.

“Our team has responded impressively to a lot of adversity the last couple weeks, and this match was a microcosm of that. When we were down late in the first two sets, we showed nice poise and were able to reverse the momentum. It’s terrific to have Eve [Stephens] come back with such a dominant offensive performance as well. This should give us a lot of confidence going into our last home matches next week,” Green said.

After the weekend competition, the Seawolves held their spot as No. 2 in the GNAC with a 15-3 conference record and a 20-6 overall record.

The UAA women’s volleyball team will return to competition on Nov. 21 and 23 for their final regular season matches against No. 11 Saint Martin’s and No. 7 Seattle Pacific.